One Day in Lisbon

Are you hoping to spend one day in Lisbon?

After spending an entire year living in the Portuguese capital, I have many tips to share!

Lisbon is one of those hilly cities that is engaging and relaxing. It has a year-round mild climate with loads of sunshine 🌞 and incredible views.

So, if you want to spend a day in Lisbon, I have this 1-day Lisbon itinerary that will show you the main attractions in this sunny city.

Spending one day in Lisbon, you should see the four famous districts: Alfama, Bairro Alto, Baixa, and Chiado.

Also, find some great travel tips and how to see the best of Lisbon in 24 hours.

Is One Day in Lisbon Enough?

Spending one day in Lisbon is not enough; I always find something new on the road to explore.

I recommend spending three days or more in this exciting Portuguese capital. In three days, you will have enough time to explore the historical parts and take a day trip to Sintra.

Still, if you only have a day, check out the 1-day Lisbon itinerary to explore the main attractions.

But you will need some strategic planning with the limited time. In only one day, I focused on the three central districts: Alfama, Belem, and Chiado.

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The Ultimate 1-Day Lisbon Itinerary

Start your one day in Lisbon in the morning with fantastic views at Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and Miradouro da Graça.

Lisbon is a hilly city with some of the best views, and these two viewpoints are two of them.

1. Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and Miradouro da Graça

On my first day in Lisbon, I must admit I used public transportation, driving a taxi to the Miraduro do Senhora do Monte.

I was glad I used transport instead of walking as it saved me loads of climbing, and I did not exhaust myself for the rest of the day.

The view is fantastic and worth a spot spending one day in Lisbon. From there, I headed in the direction of St. George Castle. 

I also passed the Graça Church and headed past the monastery to visit the following viewpoint, Miradouro da Graça.

I enjoyed this view as you can see the city, 25 de Abril Bridge, and Castelo de São Jorge. You will notice that the bridge looks identical to the one in San Francisco.

Along this walk, I was introduced to the Portuguese azulejos (traditional tiles) that comprise most of the city.

The Easy Lisbon Quiz

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2. São Jorge Castle

São Jorge Castle

Heading downhill, my first stop in the historic city center of Alfama was the Castle of St George, also known as Castelo de São Jorge.

A worthy note is that many people I know told me the castle was not interesting, but the view from there was amazing.

Furthermore, upon arrival, the queue was long, and I decided to spend more time in the historic district, walking the cobblestone streets.

Hot Tip🔥: If you want to see the castle, I recommend investing in a skip-the-line ticket. I would have done this if I knew about it and feel it is worth adding to a one-day itinerary Lisbon trip.

3. Exploring the Historic District Alfama

Alfama is one of the most beautiful districts in this fantastic city. Still, with only one day in Lisbon, you must be very selective about how you spend your time here.

You can do a few things to explore this part of Lisbon. You can go on a self-guided tour or join a Segway tour instead, which costs a pretty penny.

I headed to the Miradouro da Santa Luzia, another spectacular view from the castle. Adjacent to it, you find Largos das Portas do Sol.

It is a small, charming square with another viewpoint. Yet, a note of warning: you can easily get lost in Alfamas maze streets even if you have a guide map.

The best part of getting lost in this part of the capital city is that I found some tremendous traditional shops and restaurants along the way.


Then I headed towards Se de Lisboa (Cathedral of Lisbon) to see the famous Tram 28. 

I stopped to enjoy some ice cream and drinks at a cafe.

4. The Busy City Center Baixa

Next, on my one day in Lisbon, I headed to Baixa; by this time, it was already afternoon. Here, I visited a few places:

Commerce Square

Praça do Comércio is a vast yet charming town square once home to the royal palace. The palace was destroyed during the 1755 earthquake.

Now you find government buildings and the King Jose statue in this lively square. You are greeted with classical buildings lined with yellow facades and arcades in this colossal town square.

From there, I headed to Cais das Colunas down a flight of stairs at the Targus River.

Arco da Rua Augusta

Arco da Rua Augusta

I spent some time at the Targus River and headed to the Rua Augusta Arch. It was built to commemorate Lisbon’s reconstruction after the earthquake.

For a small fee, you can head up to the viewing platform. Here, I browsed through the pedestrian street with restaurants and shops. It is a busy square.

5. Santa Justa Lift


My next stop was the Elevador de Santa Justa, an age-old lift built in 1901. It connects Charmo Hill in Chaido with the Baixa district.

While the queue was long, I decided to wait, and after a while, I realized why it was taking so long. The elevator is very slow, and on top of that, you must buy a ticket inside.

While it was an expensive ride, adding it to my one day in Lisbon trip was worth the while as you see the charming city in a 360-degree view.

Some information about the lift is that it opens from 7 am until 11 pm, a ticket costs 5.50 Euros, and kids enter free.

Hot Tip🔥: An excellent thing to know is that the Santa Justa Lift is part of the public transport system and included in the Lisboa Card.

Largo do Carmo


If you have time, hop off at  Chaido and go to Largo do Carmo to explore the evocative ruins of a church destroyed in the 1755 earthquake.

The Carmo Convent’s skeletal Gothic Convent’ske a dramatic backdrop to the small but fascinating Museu Arqueológico do Carmo archaeological museum.

The entry ticket to the museum and church costs €5 per adult. Exhibits documenting Lisbon’s history from ancient times through the devastating earthquake are found here.

Take advantage of the eerie mummified bodies behind glass. After your museum visit, find a relaxing respite amid the arches and tranquil inner courtyard.

6. Rossio Square

Rossio Square

Next, on my one day Lisbon trip, I headed to Praça do Comércio, known as Rossio Square. It is a popular town square dating back to the 18th century.

You can sit at Cafe Nicola, which dates back to the same period. Here, you can find other traditional shops serving Portuguese food and drinks.

I could not get enough of the intricate patterns along the pavement. Here is also a unique sardine shop. Each tin contains a historical fact from the year printed on it.

Then, head to the Rosio railway station, which is a worthy trip.

I ended my day here as it was already late. But on the following trip, I also visited these places on my one day in Lisbon.

Enjoy Some Portuguese Delicacies


While at Rossio Square, Lisbon’s lively hub since old times.

Admire the columned neoclassical buildings and wavy black-and-white cobblestone paving. Here, you can find some Portuguese delicacies at the charming cafes and shops.

Stop into Ginginha do Carmo for a shot of sour cherry liqueur, Lisbon’s signature drink. The Lisbon spot has been serving ginjinha for over 100 years.

They serve the cherry liqueur in small shot glasses, or you can choose an edible chocolate cup for a tasty afternoon treat.

So, do not miss out on this with your 1-day Lisbon itinerary trip.

7. Head to The UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Add Belém to the trip to visit the UNESCO World Heritage site. Hop on the Tram 15E at  Praça do Comércio. First, visit the 16th-century defensive Torre de Belém tower.

Then, see the Monument of the Discoveries, honoring Portuguese sea explorers.

Afterward, join the queue for the famous pastries and warm custard tarts at Pastéis de Belém bakery. This place invented the pasteis de nata in 1837 using a secret recipe. 

Enjoy these sweet treats with coffee before taking the tram back to the city center. Here is a short overview of these places that are a must-visit.

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Torre de Belém


Constructed in 1515, this ornate tower guarded the harbor entrance.

It was built in the Manueline architectural style, featuring maritime motifs like ropes, coral, and anchors carved into the limestone.

Climb the top for breathtaking views across the defense tower beside the river. You can expect to pay €6 for the entrance ticket.

Here, you will enjoy beautiful views over the river during your 1-day Lisbon itinerary trip.

The Monument of the Discoveries-Padrão dos Descobrimentos


Erected in 1960, this popular viewpoint celebrates the Portuguese Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries.

The 170-foot-high limestone structure depicts Prince Henry the Navigator at the prow of a ship, surrounded by other explorers, sailors, cartographers, and scientists.

Walk inside the monument to see the compass rose mosaic marking the routes taken by Portuguese ships. Ascend to the top for sweeping views over the Tagus River.

Pastéis de Belém


No visit to Lisbon is complete without sampling a warm, creamy pastel de nata custard tart. Pastéis de Belém is the place to try the iconic pastry.

Open since 1837, this bakery uses the original secret recipe. Devour the tarts warm from the oven, lightly dusted with cinnamon.

The delicate, flaky crust gives way to the rich, velvety custard filling. Pair them with a shot of strong Portuguese coffee. Be prepared for long lines, but it’s well worth it!

When done, walk the picturesque streets and head back to tram 15E to reach Praça do Comércio.

8. Lunch at Bifanas at Afonso

fountain in Lisbon with a beautiful view

After enjoying Belém’s sights, take a tram back towards the city center.

Hop off near the Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara viewpoint. This bustling area is full of pastry shops selling delicious pastéis de nata.

Duck into Manteigaria for another warm tart in a modern setting. Then, walk a few doors down to Pasteis de Belém(different than the original) for a comparison.

Casa Pastéis de Belém offers affordable takeaway tarts, too. Try custard, chocolate, or cheesecake fillings.

Still, instead of adding more sweets to your diet, you can enjoy lunch at Bifana at The Bifanas of Afonso. But they only take cash, so please keep this in mind. 

Pro Tip: Add the mustard to it; it tastes fantastic. 

9. Enjoy a Dinner at Timeout Market 

This modern food hall you find in Mercado da Ribeira in Cais do Sodre. It is a must-visit if this is your first time in Lisbon. 

Here, you can find dozens of restaurant stalls with some top chefs to enjoy Portugal’s different cuisines. 

Afterward, bar hop for drinks while inside the Timeout Market. The laidback vibe in the food hall is the perfect way to end your whirlwind day in Lisbon.

It is a great way to end your 1-day Lisbon itinerary trip before heading for bed.

The Advanced Lisbon Quiz

You’re now at the advanced Lisbon quiz with more difficult questions. No one gets every question right, so don’t beat yourself up on it. Good luck.

Where to Stay in Lisbon With Only 24 Hours on Hand

If you plan to explore Lisbon in just one day, we suggest staying in the Alfama district for its vibrant atmosphere or the Baixa district for easy access to the city.

Alternatively, Príncipe Real is an excellent option if you plan to end your sightseeing there.

Yet, it’s important to remember that Lisbon is a large and spread-out city, so regardless of where you decide to stay, you won’t be able to walk to every attraction.

Getting Around on a One Day in Lisbon Trip

Lisbon is a beautiful city that can be explored on foot, but it’s not as walkable as other European cities due to its distance and hilly terrain.

For instance, Belem and LX Factory are popular spots that are a 25+ minute drive away from Alfama’s city center, which is why they were not included in this one day Lisbon itinerary.

If you plan on visiting a miradouro, be prepared for a workout, as Lisbon is known for its hilly terrain. However, public elevators are available and can be a quick and free alternative to traditional transportation.

Lisbon’s tram system is a great way to navigate the city, but it’s worth noting that Tram 28 through Alfama can be crowded and not advisable if you have limited time.

Aside from the trams, Lisbon has a bus and metro system that can take you around the city. Taxis are also accessible and reasonably priced, and most taxis use the meter without issue (except for those from the airport).

Can You Do a Lisbon and Sintra Trip in One Day?

The stunning palaces of Sintra, including the vibrant and picturesque Pena Palace, are among Portugal’s most renowned attractions.

They are less than an hour’s drive from Lisbon, making them a popular destination for those traveling to the Portuguese capital for a day.

Yet, attempting to visit Sintra and Lisbon in one day would not do justice to either of them. You may have to cut down your Lisbon itinerary by visiting Alfama or Chiado/Bairro Alto, and you will have to choose only one or two of Sintra’s palaces to explore.

Nonetheless, if you’ve always wished to visit Sintra and this is your best chance, seeing both cities in one day is not terrible.


Although more time is always better for an in-depth Lisbon city break, this jam-packed one day in Lisbon itinerary proves you can still see the highlights if limited to 24 hours.

Use efficient transportation, minimal downtime, and early starts and late finishes to pack everything.

This route focuses on the top attractions around the historic center.

You’ll taste Lisbon’s delicious cuisine, scenic overlooks, significant monuments, and colorful neighborhoods.

It makes for an unforgettable first encounter with Portugal’s vibrant capital.

Frequently Asked Questions

While one day is not enough to fully explore Lisbon, you can visit some of the city’s main attractions in a day.

You should visit the four famous districts of Alfama: Bairro Alto, Baixa, and Chiado.

A strategic plan is necessary to explore Lisbon in a day. You can start with viewpoints like Miradouro da Senhora do Monte and Miradouro da Graça, then head to Alfama’s historical district, followed by the busy city center Baixa.

It depends on your preference and the amount of time you have. Exploring Lisbon on foot is a great way to see the city’s hidden gems, but public transportation can save you time and energy if you want to see more in a day.

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